Friday, February 16, 2007

Reducing It Down To Love

This year’s Valentine’s Day celebration was spent at home grilling a pork tenderloin. So you all know that my real Valentine this year was my new indoor grill and that I had to proclaim my love for it by grilling something nice, something tender and something very juicy.

The inspiration for this meal came from a recent craving to make a reduction, or sauce, for meat. As I have been trying to limit my consumption of red meat, I decided to make a reduction for a pork tenderloin. I tried to base this meal around the themes of Valentine’s Day and therefore wanted a piece of meat and a sauce that was sensual, sweet and maybe a bit red for Valentine’s Day. I came up with a pomegranate and balsamic vinegar reduction, which really was reduced down to pure love!

Before I made my reduction, I made a quick rub for my pork so that the meat itself was flavored independent of the reduction. The rub consisted for four cloves of chopped garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper and olive oil. I let the pork marinate in this mixture in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for about an hour.

Because I did not have a recipe for either my rub or my reduction, I wanted the flavors of each to compliment each other, instead of contrasting with each other. For my reduction, I began by sautéing a finely diced shallot in olive oil. To the diced shallots, I added the same spices as my rub - thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. To this, I added about a ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar and 2/3 cup of pomegranate juice. I let this reduce, with a little help from some cornstarch, for about 45 minutes.

Once I was ready to grill my pork, I heated my new indoor grill to a high temperature. I grilled the marinated pork tenderloin for about 25 minutes or so until the meat reached 160 degrees. When the meat was perfectly done, I let the meat rest so that the juices would be reabsorbed and sliced the pork on a diagonal. I then drizzled my pomegranate reduction over the meat. Both the pork tenderloin and the pomegranate reduction were perfect for Valentine’s Day. The pork was so juicy and tender and had hints of rosemary and garlic infused throughout it. My reduction, which had a deep red color for Valentine’s Day, added a nice sweetness to the pork from the pomegranate juice and balsamic vinegar.

It was an excellent meal and a very appropriate meal for a quiet Valentine’s Day spent at home. I look forward to sharing Valentine’s Day next year with my indoor grill, and of course with a meal that is reduced down to love!

Until next time…

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